Navigating learning challenges with your kids
with Delphine Rule
This is an unedited transcript.
Thank you for joining us today, I am super excited to have our guests. delphian rule is a mom of three. And she is working through the process of supporting her own children with ADHD and learning disabilities. I am a mom with a child who is dyslexic. So I resonate with what you’re talking about today. And I’m so interested in what you’re going to share with us. So I want you to share about your business. First off, give me your your best little bio that you want to share with us and then we’re going to jump right into some questions. For sure. Holly,
thank you so much for having me. I always love the opportunity to talk about our neuro diverse kids and all the awesome things that they can do. I think the biggest place to start for me really is that my journey started when I was seven I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of seven very early on my parents were like, Huh, thing doesn’t quite fit here. And very early on my through testing phases and was found to be dyslexic. So I went off into some small class placements, did really well have been able to, you know, learn lots of coping mechanisms, strategies, and I had to learn to advocate for myself from a really young age. So all of that led me to become a Teacher Not at all, where I thought I was going to end up. But here I am as a teacher and I, I was like, Well, I’m going to teach I want to teach kids with learning needs, because that’s, that’s what I know. That’s what I can relate to. So I moved into teaching special education and did that for about 15 years, had various roles within the school board that I work in in terms of supporting kids with special needs. And then I had kids who were neuro diverse. And I actually said to someone the other day, I thought I understood what parents were going through when I sat in meetings, and I was like, Hey, I can totally get it like I was, I was not apparent at the time. And I was like, of course, I understand. This is stressful. And I understand this is hard. And I was like, Yeah, yeah, I got you. And then I had my own kids. And I was like, Oh, I
did not get it. I
did not I thought I got it. I did not get it. So um, that was eye opening for me. And as I went through the process with my own kids, God, it was hard. I felt alone. I didn’t know what was up and what was down. And remember, I worked for school board, like I was a teacher, I was working in special education. I have all people should have known step a step B step. 12. Step 25. In those moments when you’re, it’s like high stress, high anxiety. You just want everything to be you want you want the plan given to you and be like, Okay, here we go. It doesn’t work that way.
No, and it’s funny. I love that you said that, because I think all of us heading into Parenthood, right? We all know we’re going to do it different. We all have a better idea. Yeah. Yeah. It was funny because my I was a doula long before I had my own babies. So I was helping families have babies before I’d been through it, which is very rare in the world of doula, to be honest. Yeah. Because to have that empathy, you sort of need to have you mean that in the chair, but I was good at it. And I did it well, but it was funny, because when I had my first it was an emergency delivery on my own by myself. And I remember the paramedics saying to me, after I delivered him, I said, You think I would have known better? And they said, Why? And I said, Well, I’ve already been you know, I’ve attended hundreds of births. Do you think I’d know this? And they’re like, what? Yeah, you just don’t know until you’re in it.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Until you don’t know.
Yeah, you don’t very different when it’s you are your own children, for sure. That’s important to know. Because it it can seem like something that someone else deals with. Mm hmm. When we’re facing that. So I would love to know, I know what my experience has been. And it was, again, very, something that crept up on us with our oldest and I was a lot of mom guilt. There’s a lot of me beating myself up going, why didn’t I see this? Where did this come from? Like, he wasn’t dyslexic? Why is he now that sent us on a whole other journey? But what would you say to parents? What can they watch for? What are things that are for any kind of, you know, struggle or difficulty with their education? And that’s a big question. I know. But are there some tips or things that keep an eye out for for kids?
For sure. And I mean, that’s part of what I do with the access to education work that I’m doing now, right? Where I advocate and work with parents and help them kind of figure out the plan and figure out the roadmap, right, I call it the roadmap to success. So if you’re the things we’re going to do. So it starts really early as parents, and it’s sometimes really hard to want to see Let’s start by putting that out there is that, as parents, we give birth to these children, we look them in the eye, and we dream instantly, it’s like they’re going to do this and they’re going to be best, and it’s all going to be perfect. So some of the things to look for is, you know, just language delay. So that’s a really big one. So if they start talking really late now remember, I’m not I’m not a medical professional, but I am an educator and I have seen this a lot. And I’ve seen it with my own two kids. If there’s a language delay, if they start talking later than others, a pencil grasp if they’re not holding a pencil properly, or resisting doing that, right. That was one that I didn’t know. And I would have caught it sooner if I had known that. Yep. I didn’t know either, right. Sometimes it can be aggressive. So my eldest was really aggressive. I was like, I don’t understand where this behavior is coming from. And it wasn’t at home. He wasn’t doing it with us. But he was doing it at preschool. And every time I went to pick him up, she was like, well, he hit this kid, and he did this. And I don’t understand what’s happening. So then, you know, it was a conversation with the family doctor at that point, because we weren’t at a stage where we were in education. We weren’t at school yet. But it starts with a conversation with a family doctor to kind of be like, hey, people are noticing what I’m seeing, right. So delayed speech, delayed motor skills, gross motor skills, delayed fine motor skills, and some of those kind of developmental steps where you kind of go home I’m not sure. Some kids with learning challenges. My middle kid, for example, didn’t want anything to do with books has no interest in reading because it’s hard. It’s hard homework is a fight. Because it’s hard. And so kids will avoid and it’s funny you just like add, they’re just being lazy or they just don’t want to do it. But it can actually be because it’s, it’s just darn hard for them. And like anybody I mean, we do it as adults, if something is hard, we’re like, No, I’m gonna leave that for the day, right? Like, I’m not gonna do it first. I’m gonna do it. Our kids are smart, our diverse kids, they are smart. Do not for one second think that they don’t know exactly what’s going on. They always are very consciously aware of what’s happening.
I’m very adaptable. Right? They find ways to make it worse.
Yeah. And, and they they learn skills and strategies. I learned tons of skills and strategies as a kid, like people used to say to me, you’re not dyslexic, you’re super smart, like, Ah ha. Now, having said that, let’s be really clear. Children. dyslexia is one of them. But children with any learning disability, it’s not that they’re not smart. They if you tested their IQ more often than not, they’re way up there. Yeah. But the thing to understand about learning disabilities, is there is a discrepancy between their abilities. So their scores and their output what they can do, that’s a great way to put it. Yeah, it’s not that they can’t, it’s that it takes longer, it’s harder, they need it done differently. Yeah, right. So all of that. I’m looking for a word that I can’t find all of the like very specific learning strategies have to be tailored to them because their brain is not wired. Like the average kid. super smart, super capable, never underestimate. Watching, they’re listening. And they’re gonna figure out the problem in a different way. So think of all of these entrepreneurs who tend to be dyslexic who tend to have learning disabilities. So the one I always pull out is Richard Brandt, who owns virgin he, like owns all kinds of, I mean, insane things. The man is brilliant. But he’s dyslexic, but look at what he’s done. So he’s got a whole made by dyslexia organization, which if you haven’t seen, you absolutely need to check it out. It’s amazing. I want every t shirt every time I see it. I’m like, I want that. But anyway, but that’s all that to say is that as a parent, if you’re trying to kind of be like, yeah, I’m not sure, I don’t know. Have a conversation with your family doctor. That is step one. And I try to really reiterate to families, it doesn’t have to be a separate appointment that you’re going to simply talk about what you are seeing, it can be your flu shot. Oh, hey, and by the way, like, you know, this, that and the other or when you’re going in for your, you know, your 18 month conversation, and they say What are they talking about? Where are they at? Just be really honest, yes, it’s scary. You want your child to be perfect, let’s write or as close to perfect as who they are going to be. But but the the barrier to that is that if you can’t be open and honest with your family doctor than getting resources support getting on the right road early, I’m an early interventionist, I really believe that’s important. Yes, that that then delays everything.
Absolutely. And as an educator, your opinion in the family’s lives, and what you’re seeing is huge. I spent 17 years in preschools, I ran them and worked in them and worked with a lot of kids with special needs in those settings. And we see these children on a day to day basis in settings that their parents don’t. So like you said, it sometimes can be very, you know, walls up, I’ve had lots of parents over the years, who are like, Oh, no, no, no, that doesn’t happen at home, or that’s just how they talk or we understand them. There’s lots of exceptions that they make, right. And we as parents will do that. So I think I really want to erode or that you as educators, to your opinion, is what carries a lot of weight. Yeah,
what’s important to though, is the relationship so I dig on building the relationship and the foundation’s between the school and home. And I spend a lot of time with my own kids. And I’m really nervous this year, both my kids are gonna move schools in September next year. And so I have to start over the work is going to begin again. But I’m, I’m a really big believer in teachers, approaching parents with children, who they who teachers think, right, because we all have our own thoughts and opinions on how kids are right. But as teachers, you have to be very gentle. You have to be understanding that they are maybe not ready, they maybe don’t see it. They might not have other children to compare to. You have to be very gentle and you’re not going to get a parent to trust you as an educator. Unless you can show them caring and respect. Absolutely. Now, parents in reverse right now, it’s the same thing. You have to trust that your school teacher, your classroom teacher, whoever that person is, whether it’s a an E, C, E, whether If a teacher, a special education teacher, the principal, the Vice Principal, whoever it is, you have to have enough respect for the people who are working with your child to then be able to have that two way communication. And that is the only way we get success with these kiddos is that, you know, we all have to be a team. And if if we’re not a team together all working on the same goal that portrayed becomes the the tug of war, right? Absolutely. teachers and educators want to go one way. So the school wants to go mom and dad want to go together. And you’ve got kiddo Who? They’re the one who loses out? And I haven’t always handled it. Well, I will admit, I have no. I listen, there are a couple scenarios where
I could go back and redo
- But that is the nature of being human. And the devastation that we as parents feel when our children struggle, because nobody wants their child to struggle. Right?
Absolutely. That is, I think, what overwhelmed me in the beginning when we first started realizing he was in grade three. And I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give and I you can add to this is the assumptions that on both sides that can be made. So what are the assumptions that kept being made with a new teacher, new classroom, you know, he’d had great success up to that point with his classes done well. And some life changes some trauma in his life and things like that had triggered some of this for him. But it got to the point where I was constantly told of his behavior issues. And this is my sweetest most gentle child, who was like under his desk, refusing to work, who would sit and put his head down and just not even speak when spoken to. And he’s not stubborn like that, you know what I mean? All these things. And when you’re being confronted with these behaviors, and no other options of what it could be, it’s very easy to build assumptions right away about the teacher or about the school or about the class. So like, you’re saying that respectful communication, oh, my goodness, it is so Paramount, and we actually had his previous grade teacher who advocated for him. And she was the voice of reason. And she was beautiful. She came in and sat in some of our meetings and was able to help us negotiate this as a group. So I want to know, from you what, especially in your business, what you are offering, what are some steps that parents can take? Once you go, something’s up? There’s something off? So like you said, speaking to your family doctor, I know some parents have a great, you know, successful that and have great doctors, and some families have doctors are like, not my field of expertise here. I don’t know. I don’t know. Yeah, you know, go get an educational assessment done or something? Yeah. What would you be doing next? If that was? Yeah,
so listen, for me, the doctor is always the first place to go. There should be absolutely because they can send you for Developmental assessments. And that’s actually one of the things that I really suggest that people go to if they are considering an issue, if they think there’s something going on is to go and get a developmental assessment done. And these, your doctor can refer you to them, they’re usually done in a hospital setting. And in those settings, you’d get an occupational therapist, you’d have a psychologist, and there might be one or two other therapists to kind of kick in there. And they sort of look at your child, and they put them on a bit of a bit of a line of like, you know, what is below average? And what is average? And then what is above average, and you get a really good, it’s actually really interesting for both of our guys, when we got sick, well, this is really cool. Because you learn all of the things that they’re really good at that, you know, you probably is apparently like, yeah, they’re totally Yeah, I get that. Yep, that makes sense. Then you find out all the things that they’re not good at, you’re like, Oh, that’s why they don’t want to tie their shoe, or that’s why they can’t put their pants on properly. Right? It’s again, it’s another piece that unlocks the information for us as parents to give us the power and the knowledge, right, because we always say that knowledge is power, getting these little assessments is really helpful. So if you can get one of those, that’s great. Most school systems have some sort of tier of support or tears or steps that need to be taken in order to get greater support within the school. So the schools that I work with, there’s in school support team meetings, where we talk as educators and just people within the building, sort of, you know, here’s our students here some of the challenges and we can then as a group, we sort of banter back and forth. Well, how could we help? What do we have in the building? What access do we have that we can support with? And then the next one is that you know, once we’ve exhausted that we try that for a while then there’s a bigger team meeting that then pulls people down from sort of the board level so outside of the school, people who are neutral who could come in and say okay, well you’ve tried all these strategies. Now what? speech language pathologists Do not underestimate the power of a speech language pathologist. They don’t just help kids with stutters right that’s what I always used to think. They can’t Wow, they have a wealth of information. So if you so a child who’s delayed and speaking for example, a speech language pathologist can be really instrumental in telling you do they understand receptive language. So you talk to them and you say go put on your shoes, go Put on your coat, get your backpack, you’ve given them three steps, can they follow the three steps? So that’s them understanding, they also can get a good understanding of what their expressive languages. So their ability to say, I’m sad, I’m mad, I’m frustrated. I’m,
here’s what I did on the weekend. So those are other people to tap into. Occupational Therapists would never have occurred to me to go and see an occupational therapist, nope, wouldn’t have been on my list of things to do, I now have a really good understanding of what an occupational therapist can do. So they can look at those gross motor, fine motor skills, self regulation, if you have a kiddo who goes zero to 60, with sadness, anger, aggression, any of those things, they really can build a program and you put a speech language pathologist and an occupational therapist together in a room on a program for a kid, you were talking about the language skills, and the emotional regulation skills coming together. It’s a beautiful combination when it works well agree. Yeah. Oh, my God, I had no idea. I was like, Why? Why two together? I don’t understand. And then I started to watch and learn and understand. And I was like, Oh, I
Like, it does make sense. Yes. Um, teachers, go to your classroom teacher, like, hey, at home, you know, you know, our child doesn’t want to do the alphabet, or doesn’t seem to know their numbers or can’t write their name or isn’t talking, or can’t even like, when you give them say, the three steps. So go put on your shoes, right? Put on your Coco put on your backpack, they get the shoes on, and then they’re like, now what do I do? Right? How many of us have been in that situation? Too many times to count. But if you go to a classroom teacher, and you’re like, hey, if you give them an instruction, like if you give them more than one instruction, can they follow that? Like, those are all places to go and look and ask questions, it’s hard As parents, we don’t want to ask the report card really good place to get tons of information. Don’t just look at the mark. And my biggest thing for parents to look at, honestly, at least here in Ontario, I don’t know what other report cards kind of look like outside of the province of Ontario. But the the first page of a report card is all the learning skills. So it’s like the kids ability to kind of work independently to be able to work in a group, I’m trying to think I just looked at my kids report card. So you’d think I would remember these things and write them all the time. But all of those kind of self regulation skills and the ability to function. Read that comment, take a look at kind of where there are some strengths, and where are there some needs. I mean, listen, no kid is going to be perfect in everything. You know, it’s very rare to get that there’s always a little more work that can be done somewhere. But those are some places that I would start and and really if you haven’t started with the doctor, but you’ve got report cards that have some concerning comments or things in it, take our pork herd with you and be like, Hey, we’re noticing this, this and this, in parent teacher interview, ask the teacher you’re saying they can’t follow three step instructions. Give me an example of what is that right. Like? The teachers are prepared to answer these questions. They don’t just you know, these are not canned comments. These are like every teacher’s sleeve over report will take a long time. Please read them because we really work hard on them. questions ask us? We wouldn’t write it down. If we weren’t prepared to answer, I think is what I would say.
That’s a very good point. No, you’re right. And those are some really good clues if we take the time to really absorb it. I know I pour over report cards like that in the comment sections. And I love to read it to my kids. I’ll say to them, Hey, you know how we’ve been working on this? Look, it says you’re getting better at that. It’s really important. Just there’s more. Yeah, I know. I’ve been involved in the process.
Yeah. Right. Because what we want is all of our kids who struggle, we want them to be able to advocate for themselves. So if we don’t share the information with them, if we don’t include them in the conversation of Hey, your teacher says you struggle with I’m gonna use this as one of my kids examples. He struggles with sitting still and focusing. Okay, so that’s his big struggle. Well, yes, but
the three of mine do. My,
oh my, my poor middle guy. I do adore him. But he spent most of remote learning. We got a hoverboard at Christmas. And he just like hoverboards all day long around the kitchen while lift. I mean, he’s listening.
My youngest, my youngest has to move Khan all the time.
Yeah. So the teachers comment is, you know, must, must be able to remain focused, when required, right. So like when teachers giving the instructions so that he then can remember the four steps that need to write so, but but by showing him that and saying, okay, here’s the thing, you’re not so good at what’s something you could do, or suggest to your teacher that you could start doing. Whereas he’s very good at working in groups and being like, Hey, buddy, look at how good your teacher says you work in groups. So watch what I did there. I didn’t just focus on the negative piece. I went and found a positive piece. Absolutely in that report card. And I actually probably Should have flipped it. Right? I should have started with the super positive and then given an O, but maybe we could work on that. So it doesn’t really matter which way you do it. I just like to start with the positive because that builds confidence more and and that’s kind of what I need to do with my kids. But that’s the thing. And so even if you’ve got a kid who’s on an IEP, for example, and I wouldn’t if there’s teachers listening, I would encourage them include the student. Now, listen, you can’t include maybe a child in grade one, or the student in grade eight. Yes, absolutely. Yes. Yeah. When you’re writing that IEP, you’ve sent the parent response letter home to say, what do you want in? Well, what is the 12 year old or 13 year old think their strengths and means are, that can be really informative as a teacher role empowering for them to as a child, I
know my grade seven, my son is grade seven, who has dyslexia and he’s he’s almost 13. And I, that’s been a journey for us. We’ve had all kinds of therapy, we’ve done all kinds of extra work, which has been like you said, it’s just been life changing for him. But now I’m able to where I couldn’t necessarily as much in grade three, but now in grade seven, I can say to him, okay, but we homeschool. So it’s a little different scenario at the moment at the moment, but he’s done both. But I get to say to him, then, Okay, listen, you know, when he was in school, he had those rubber, the sensory cushions that you saw
the disco said, just go sit. Yep,
yeah. So I was like, try it. Do you like it? Does that work for you? So now my six year old uses it on his chairs so that for him, he can now wiggle his butt as needed without, you know, his whole body going somewhere. So I like that they’re able to and it was my 12 year old who suggested it to him. Yeah, he was the one who said, Hey, but listen, I use this when I was young, grade three, maybe you can use it now. and pass it on, you know, kind of the
early stages of advocating, right. And those are tiny things. And so I had to do it in high school, I chose to go to a high school, as I had said, In the beginning, I was in small class placements, it was eight kids and to staff from I essentially redo grade one, but from grade two to grade eight. At the end of grade eight, I said, You know what, I’m good. I’ve got enough skills and strategies. And I think I can do this. And everybody around the table was like, Yeah, you’re not going to survive, don’t do this. And by the way, go to a college, learn a trade, you know, whatever. And it’s like, Okay, then I’ll show you. Yes, because that’s I’m a very competitive person, my husband will tell you, it’s, it’s a little challenging sometimes. But I got to this high school and what I actually did, although I wasn’t in the special education program at the high school, I still had my IEP. And what I did was I learned who the special education teacher was, and I connected with her. And I said, Hey, if I need help, can I still like, I know, I’m not officially yours. But like, could I and we built a relationship. Now what helped that she was my swim coach, so we got to know each other, they’re too
But again, that that was an advocacy piece, where I would go to the teachers and say, Hey, by the way, you know, I’m dyslexic, and I need a little more time. And I use the extra time in my exam. So I didn’t have to write in the gym, like all of those little things that kind of helped me and then in university, again, I didn’t have an IEP in university anymore. But I still went to the student, I think it was Student Resource Centers what it was, and it was for students who had learning disabilities. And there I had a note taker. So that made it Oh, right. I asked for those things, right, I got the extra time, all of that. So you’re teaching your kids Holly really, at this point by giving them access to the IEP early by allowing them to say, well, this works or this doesn’t work, you’re then making it so that when they are older, and more independent, that they can say to people, hey, I need this or that when they get to the workforce. Yeah, like, I do a lot of voice to text because it takes me too long to get it from my brain all the way down my hand onto the keyboard and the whole bit.
So I have
often asked for voice to text stuff and just said to people like, this is what I need. Okay, here you are, right? Absolutely. I remember I had a job at university, I was working on a golf course. And they wanted to put me out on the ninth tee. And I was like, I feel good place for me, because there’s no cash register. I can’t do the math in my head fast enough, right. So I was just really, I felt confident enough in myself to be able to do that. Now not everybody’s going to, it’s a skill. It has to be learned. But it has to be fostered. And so doing things as parents like you’re doing and having educators do the same thing builds confidence in these young people to say, okay, it is okay for me to say, Hey, I can be successful, but here’s what I need.
Yes, absolutely. And I found my my juggle that happened in the beginning was learning not to make excuses for him. And, and not giving him the easy way out. And I’m a bit of a tough cookie. I’m one of those, you know, tough teachers, normally, so when you start to homeschool and you have therapists that are working and all the other things you’re doing on top of that, so I’ve been balancing that and that’s, you know, that is a juggling act when you’re dealing with someone who is struggling and now from going He couldn’t even hold a pencil like he said to now he writes cursive nicer than I do. He only writes in cursive because it’s easier for his brain on that. But he’s an incredible author, this kid is going to write cellars like I have no doubt about it. He’s a brilliant writer. But do you think I can get him to write a single story idea down on paper? No. Well, so, right. So I’m balancing all the time between he still has to practice his handwriting, he still is going to do some English work where he’s writing on paper. But you know, when it’s okay for him to voice text, his stories into his memos. Right. So I love that you said that because as a parent, I have to sometimes remind myself, we’re in a digital age where voice memo wing is normal. That’s not a crutch for him. That’s a must move forward tool. Right? So I’m glad you brought that up. Because it made me feel better.
I think I saw I did a blog post about this a while back, because my mum was like, well, they have to learn how to write and it’s like, but they can we know, if they have to write if they had to write a grocery list, for example, write a couple of things. Sure. Can they sign their name to things? Absolutely. Can they write an entire thesis by hand? Hell no. Because that right there, right, the minute you put the pencil in their hand, that is a barrier to success? Absolutely. What we’re doing by removing the pencil is removing the barrier. So if you needed a trampoline to jump over the wall, you would get yourself a trampoline to jump over the wall. That’s all we’re doing is putting a laptop in front of them. And, and to your point. Now, everything’s digital, how many how many people do voice notes now do voice notes all the time? Because it’s easier. I’m running from point A to point B. Remember to like, pick up milk on the way home set a reminder done? Yeah, right. I mean, we’ve got Alexa in Google in our house. Our kids are there all the time. Alexa, what time is it? Alexa, you know, set a timer for Alexa? Where do I find like, Yeah, all of that. So it’s just a case of removing the barrier. And what I found and what made the biggest difference for me, and I’m finding it for my eldest now, too, is I started to figure out where I was making spelling mistakes all the time. Because in Word, it underlines when you’re spelling it wrong. Yep. And then I was like, Oh, those are the words I need to pay attention to. And my son now is getting very good at being like, I’m not sure if that’s the right word. And so click on the word and go to the dictionary, read the definition and be like, Oh, yeah, okay. That is the word I wanted. Right? Yeah. So it just removes the stress and anxiety that comes from not knowing because I don’t know about your kids, but at least my eldest with dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety, he’s all about perfection, you can’t do it perfectly the first time. Shut down, you’re not doing it, don’t want to do it. But by putting the technology in front of him, giving him the tools that remove the stress and anxiety from the lack of perfection, he can fix it all make it all look pretty nice and perfect. Nobody knows that it wasn’t perfect to begin with. And then he’s got to go. Yeah, so it’s just a removing of barriers. And I think families whose kids are using technology, need to kind of shift it and they need to pivot it and remember that it’s not stopping success, it’s actually creating success and creating confidence because they are able to, I think the biggest problem we’re facing in the classroom with that, though, sorry, I know I’m going on about this. But the tiny The thing I would say about the classroom is that because not every child, we’re not at the point where every child can have their own device. We’re getting there, most schools are getting there. But it’s very expensive to bring all of these devices into schools. So it’s a barrier to schools. nobody’s fault, it just is, what happens is we get these kids who get special education. allotment money to be provided a device in their classroom. Well, what happens is you put that device in front of that child, and nobody else has it. So then they don’t want to use it because they become the only child not using it, right. But as things have moved forward, more kids are using it teachers are using it more often it’s becoming more commonplace. So it’s less of a like, you’re different. It and so that’s a good thing. But it has taken us a while to get there. We’re still not 100% there, but it is getting better. Because what I will say is sometimes kids who are who have a learning disability or learning difference or neuro diverse, whatever term you want to use, they don’t want to be seen as different. So if they get a tool that works for them, so the disco sit is an example of a tool that would make them different to their peers. Now, when they’re six and seven, nobody really notices, but by the time you get to grade three and grade four, it starts to become more obvious. Well, how come you get but I like, you know, and then they’re picked on because while you’re different, right? I mean, I was in a special education class forever and the kids in the regular program like when I’m playing with you because you’re on the short bus. That’s actually not the case. Like, I’m fine. Like you’re not gonna catch it. Anything from
because kids are stranger that way.
They’re so mean.
so mean. And then it creates a problem for us as parents because we want to build our kids up. But then you’ve got kids at school who are like squashing them. So we’re, it’s always a balancing act for us. And it’s hard work. Yeah. exhausting. Like, there are some days where I’m like, I’m just tired, like, why can’t like
just be normal, but I wouldn’t change who and what my kids are.
Because they teach me every day. And they remind me every day, especially as a teacher, and now an administrator in a building, how important it is for me to be empathetic to the children in my building, but also to the parents in my building. Absolutely, there’s a lot of learning to be done.
Well, I think that’s the key when we’re when we were gifted with the responsibility to teach these kids raise these kids, whatever rule that is, for us, we have to be on the learning side to the amount of things I’ve learned from therapy and from, you know, the things that my kids have been through and my son has learned, I’ve learned along with him, about, you know, just about reflexes and all the neuro reprogramming we’ve been able to do, I opened my eyes to just how incredible our brains are, first of all, and all that research and, and amazing things. So on that note, I want us to kind of unclosing you will be touched on a lot of this. But is there anything when you when you’re facing these challenges with your kids, when you maybe got a plan in place, and you’re moving forward? Does your parenting need to shift? Is there anything that’s key? I know, for me, it was very eye opening. Cuz like I said, when we realized he could voice text things, or he could talk about ideas, I realized how brilliant this kid was, like, it’s like you said they remove the barrier, the dam just opened up and I went, Whoa. But I asked him to sit down and write a story and it was like pulling teeth. Meanwhile, he did write his first essay this year, which was a huge accomplishment for him. I know by hand wrote it. So again, it’s a balance between Hey, buddy, you can do hard things, you can do this. And I want to see you just fly now. So let’s make this happen. So as a parent on the parenting side, what might shift at home what might shift for your parenting style, maybe your expectations, that was gonna be the big one for me.
I just release all expectations. Like I I really don’t know how to put it more simply than that. I am a perfectionist. I have a very low threshold for silliness, ridiculousness. I am a very driven person. I have worked very hard to get where I am, I have overcome a lot on my own. I don’t drives me crazy when they’re like, I just don’t want to
like, Can you let
Okay, so for example, my son had to do this four truths on a live thing for something that he’s doing next week, and he just had to record it. And he’s like, I don’t want to do it. So I’m gonna do that. And for like, a week now, it’s I don’t want to offend today. I was like, we’re doing this right now. Right. So as a parent, I had to let go of my perfectionistic expectations. It’s not to say they’re gone completely, because that would be untrue to me, right? I’ve had, I am a perfectionist, and I expect that I have high expectations, both of my children and of my students. But I had to kind of go, Okay, here’s who I have in front of me. Here’s what I know they are capable of. And these are the things I can say they absolutely must do. So for example, my kids do not have a problem with getting themselves dressed, getting their things for school, organizing themselves, they that they can do. So that is always an expectation. You will every morning, get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth, get your breakfast, because I know you can do that by yourself. Right? But they struggle with doing homework by themselves. So I’m not going to say to them when they come home from school, okay, now get out your books, go to your room, do your homework, cuz ain’t gonna work. Exactly. That’s gonna start a house a fight in my house, right? So what I have learned to do is to say, okay, we’re home. Great. Let’s take half an hour, 45 minutes to an hour, let’s take a break. You’ve been in school for eight hours, you’ve been around all kinds of sensory overload, right? So we talk about our kids with sensory processing needs. Definitely, they need to take a break from all of that. So we take a good hour break. And sometimes we don’t actually get to the homework. Sometimes it’s more of a conversation of you know what the homework. Do it don’t do it.
But how was school today?
What were you good at today? What was easy today? What was hard today? When you go back tomorrow, what are you going to do different? That’s homework for our kiddos. that’s a that’s a growth mindset piece, right? We’re looking at how can I help you move forward. So I really had to change my expectations. Now to your point of not letting them off the hook.
Just because it’s hard,
doesn’t mean you don’t get to do it. It just means that we’re going to work as a family to figure out a way to make it better. So even something like in the early stages with time out our little impulse of ADHD kids, it’s hard for them to sit still. So really was putting them on a step and saying, okay, you’re four years old, you’re gonna sit there for four minutes. Like, come on, that’s torture for them. That’s torture for me so that the discipline wasn’t timeout in our house, because that was like, 45 minutes
What I did, right, because then we’re angry with each other. And we’re like, 45 minutes of putting them back on the spot, because they’re because some parenting experts will head to like, nothing against parenting experts. But all of our kids are different and different parenting things are gonna work for different families. So for us, it was, well, if you don’t finish this, then you’re going to lose this. Because then it was an instant reaction of like, Oh, well, I really want to attack later today. So I guess I’d better go take the garbage out, right. My kids have gotten older. Now. We’ve worked in allowance in agree or disagree, but we work in allowance and with the chores that they have to do. And at the end of the week, the chores are either done or not done. And they all have to get done or you don’t get paid. Right. Yeah. So and that has worked in our house. So yeah, I think we start out I mean, I’m sure you’ve met plenty of parents who are coming to be new parents, and they’re like, Oh, yeah, we’re gonna do this, and it’s gonna be this and it’s gonna be and then and then. And then you get the kid and you’re like, oh, there’s no instruction manual. Okay, I gotta make this up from scratch. Well, and it’s trial and error. Listen, I don’t ever give parenting advice to parents. Because with our kids, it literally is trial and error. You try one, one type of discipline or consequence. And if it has a reaction, then it’s gonna work. But we do think sometimes the kids like alright, whatever. Yeah. And they were like, Oh,
you hit them where it hurts. And they’re like, me, I
totally don’t care. I totally don’t care. Yeah. Or, or because our kids are so smart. Find a way around it. Yeah. And that’s where you see the brilliance, right. That’s where you see the problem solving. And, and our kids who, whose brains are wired differently, they see things differently. They’re more observant, they’re able to picture things outside of the box, more than the average kid. And I almost like I almost like it, when when they figure out a way around whatever it is,
you’re not sure if you should be proud. Or
I know it’s like when they say
something funny, but you totally should laugh. You’re kind of like covering your face. And you’re laughing at them. Because it’s so damn smart. Like, yeah, it’s like when they use a swear word in, in context in the sentence, and you’re like, Oh, I really need to be upset with you, because you totally can’t do that. But you did it. Right. So alright. Anyway, so I don’t know if that answers the question. But Totally,
yeah, I think you’re right. Because expectations in any in any relationship. I mean, that’s just life. In general, if you have a pile of expectations that the other party is not aware of, right, our kids aren’t aware, they don’t know, if we’re expecting high, low, medium, whatnot, they just know how they have to function. So it is important.
But on the topic of expectation, here’s what is important is, especially for kids with ADHD, who are impulsive, who react to situations. So if you’re going out for dinner, you use that as a really broad example, if you’re going to a restaurant for dinner, I don’t know when the last time was I had my kids in a restaurant, if they went now, they would kick us out because they live in a bar now because we have looked over over a year. But but this is a different story. But here’s where I’m trying to get with this. Set the expectation. So if you’re going to something so you’re going to a restaurant, okay, guys, we’re going to a restaurant, we’re going to be here for about 16 minutes, right? Give them give them the like that the parameters Don’t be like, well, we’re gonna be here for a while. Ah, kids who are impulsive, they need to know how long do I need to actually sit here for right? They need that concrete information, set a timer, if you need to whatever works. You need to sit in your chair for 60 minutes, I expect you will not scream. You will not yell you will choose what you want for your meal. And I always throw in the like if you do well, you can have dessert, right? Like something to like and taste the breeze in the deal. But it’s the same like if you’re going to a movie, right? So guys, we’re gonna go to a movie, The movie is two hours and a half long. So how much time is that we do our math, we figured out how many minutes we’re going to be in there for you know, you can’t get up to go to the bathroom 12 times. So make sure you go before you know we need to sit together we like what are all of the expectations that you have as a parent, when you go out in a social situation. Whatever you have in your home, you will have built those expectations over time with your children. You know, you are expected to take the garbage out you’re expected to help load the dishwasher to clean your room. It’s been it’s more challenging. Absolutely. But when we take our kids outside into the world, I you I think you have to sometimes be really explicit because they either forget they’re not sure or the sensory overload gets in the way Way of what they need to have right? So
said I remember the first time the first time going to take it with me and and my three kids actually had my baby at the time, my youngest was just a baby. And we did a lot of it. My husband worked a lot of hours at that point before he retired. And it was something that, you know, if I wanted to go, I was gonna go with all three kids. And I just figured it out. Right? Yep. But with basically three add, and one dyslexic kid. Thanks. Yeah. So I mean, I, my expectations were low. But I did exactly that. And I only knew to do that, because I was taught it in college. child psychology, they taught Oh, about natural consequences. And so it always stuck in my head long before I had kids that it doesn’t make sense to be like, hey, you’re yelling, so I’m gonna yell at you like the subtle, natural consequence. So I remember one time going out for dinner. And that was literally what I did. I was like, or lunch or something. I’m like, this is what’s going to happen. And my kids are really good at this. I’ll be honest, we’ve done a lot of traveling together. And we know how to how to manage life to a certain extent. But I do remember saying it was my middle child who is a wild card in my house. And I said to her, you are going to have to sit even when you’re done eating, because the deal is they would always get up and wander around after they finished eating. And I’m like, you can’t just wander off. It’s just me. I can’t chase you around. So I remember she didn’t. And I said, you get one chance. And I said, if you don’t do it again, we’re actually going to get the leave and we hadn’t eaten yet. And she did it again. And I live I legit canceled our order and laugh at you. But I remember her wanting to cry because I was like,
I wanted my lunch. Yep.
And my oldest was like Tesla fair. I’m like, you’re right. It’s not. Not at all. So the consequence was because she made that decision, but she never did it again. Like it actually worked.
Yeah. Remember all I have a really stubborn, five year old so she’s our baby. She’s super stubborn. So the girl the two older boys. Yeah, um, but she, she went outside the other day. And she said, we’re up either snow up here. It’s like minus 20. And she wanted to go and see the neighborhood. So let’s have you go put like your boots your coat on? No,
I don’t want to.
Okay, so she went outside. No booze, no coat, and she came back about two minutes later. Probably. I’m
cold. Like, Uh huh.
So then yesterday, we just had fresh snow and you want to see the neighbor cuz they were shoveling and she was like, mommy wear my boots. Like, oh, you’d like your boots. That’s a good idea. I actually had the school call me one day because they were like Robins refusing to wear her coat outside. It’s like, Uh huh. Like, we just want to make sure you’re okay with that. And like, she said, outside, she’s gonna get cold. And she’s gonna want to come in and you’re gonna say to her, no, it’s not time to come in and she’s gonna have to wait and then the next rate. So those who does that, then no, no. And we just learned
natural consequences. That is what and in life, like they’re gonna have a job one day you choose not to show up on time you’re going to lose your job, you’re not going to get put in timeout. Right record on the desk at 9am on a Friday when
they want it.
Like, if there is a consequence.
Yeah, absolutely is and better for them to learn it in the security and safety of the family, then learn by experience somewhere out in the real world where it actually can have bigger consequences, right. I mean, it sucks. Nobody got lunch that day. But you know, there’s always a drive thru or there’s
always you know, there’s always food at home generally, hopefully, always. Right. So yeah, I love it. Oh, man,
we have a lot in common. It sounds like
Well, we’re crazy enough to have three kids. That’s the that’s the first one.
I know. It’s an adventure every day.
I was an only child. I wanted a big family. Oh, there you go. Yeah.
Okay, listen, this has been amazing. That was so much good information. And I have a feeling we’re gonna talk more because I know there’s lots of little tidbits in here that we could just pick apart a lot more, right. Like,
I always talk about issues. I can talk this all day long.
I love it fascinates me how our kids brains work in general. But we’ve got kids who are definitely facing some challenges in this way. That’s a whole other story. So thank you for your time. I look forward to talking to you more and have an amazing day.
Thanks so much, Holly. This is great. We’ll talk soon. Bye.